Best Movie Trailers of 2019

I love a good movie trailer. Some people don’t care for them. I, however, like to make sure my ass is in the theater well before the movie starts. The ritual of viewing trailers is just as integral to me as the movie I paid to see.

I like to think of a solid movie trailer as one that sells tone more so than plot; gives you a sense of scale and impact more than company branding or, *deep sigh* another cinematic universe. If it does the job, then I won’t need any word-of-mouth buzz to get me lining up. (I steer well and clear from those obnoxious critic pull-quote trailers.) Whether this is a prelude to my eventual Best Films of the Year list remains to be seen. Nevertheless, these were the trailers of 2019 that worked for me. Continue reading

JOKER: A Black Hole Comedy to Ruffle the Masses

The most disturbing moment in Joker for me by far, is the scene that follows the subway murders. Arthur locks himself in a public bathroom, looks at both himself and what he’s done in the mirror then starts to… dance. Violence brings Arthur such unspeakable power (perhaps even joy) and the only way he can express that release of emotion is by waltzing with himself like one would in, say, a vaudeville musical. It’s a disturbing portrait of nihilism, narcissism, and psychopathy that I couldn’t stomach. Continue reading

Love and Boh in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

Midtown High has been “blipped” back following the events of Avengers: Endgame, where half of all life was erased from existence while the other half dealt with their absence for 5 SOUL-CRUSHING YEARS. Everyone wonders what’s next in the wake of a massive existential threat, and all Peter can think about after the ordeal is MJ. In lesser hands, this would come off as selfish and self-centered. Thanks to Tom Holland and Zendaya’s winning chemistry, and a supporting cast that follows their bumbling lead, Peter and MJ’s tale of high school love is irresistibly charming. I may have hated high school, but I’m in love with the way Peter and MJ are in love with each other. Continue reading

The Brutal Thrill of John Wick

The teahouse shootout in Hard Boiled ruined me. Good guys, bad guys, guns, an unholy number of bullets, doves— and you don’t get any cooler than Chow Yun-fat duel-wielding handguns while sliding down the stairs. The shootout erupts in a teahouse of all places, the serenity of sipping tea interrupted by all-out violence where bad guys mow down innocent civilians, giving the good guys a free hunting license to unload carnage. The sheer overkill of Hard Boiled’s opening scene is something seldom achieved these days, which is what makes the increasingly over-the-top set pieces of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum such a welcome sight to see. Continue reading

Dave Chappelle’s ‘Sticks & Stones’ Won’t Break Bones, Or Any New Ground Either

Few comedians are as enduring or headline-worthy as Dave Chappelle. Many can nab themselves TV or movie deals thus prolonging their shelf-life i.e. Kevin Hart, Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Wolf, Bo Burnham. But the return to the mic isn’t always seamless i.e. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Daniel Tosh (and, depending on who you ask, Ricky Gervais). Dave Chappelle is the rare comedian who came back with a renewed comic lens and a welcome socio-political incisiveness that made his return such a sigh of relief. But if his last two standups Age of Spin and Equanimity suggested a pseudo-renaissance, then Sticks & Stones is an unfortunate stumbling block that otherwise slows the breakneck pace of his resurgence. Continue reading